10 Best Family Activities in Taupo© Rafting New Zealand
10 Best Family Activities in Taupo

10 Best Family Activities in Taupo

© Rafting New Zealand
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
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Family-friendly Things to Do in Taupo

The shore of New Zealand’s supervolcano is an exciting place to be for all ages. Families can experience a good balance of adventure and relaxation with the wealth of child-friendly activities available in Taupo. Hit the Tongariro River for an exciting yet safe introduction to white water rafting or relax with a coffee while the kids explore sculpture gardens or watch amazing honey bee displays. We’ve got plenty more ideas in this list of family activities in Taupo!

1. Check Out Huka Falls

A fun and free family attraction in Taupo is Huka Falls, a section of the Waikato River that suddenly squeezes into a narrow canyon shooting 220,000 litres (58,118 gallons) of water per second! Needless to say, the sight is incredible, seen from a bridge over the falls, as well as several viewpoints alongside the river. Tell your kids interesting facts from the interpretation panels scattered along the short walks beside the falls and enjoy this amazing photo opportunity. See more free activities in the area in the 12 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Taupo.

Location: Huka Falls Road, approximately 10 minutes drive from Taupo town centre

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2. Do Some Family-Friendly White Water Rafting

You can still get the adventure fix that many of us come to New Zealand for, even with the little ones! Raft the gentle rapids of the Tongariro River on the Tongariro Family Fun Tour with Rafting New Zealand. Suitable for ages three and up, the interactive white water rafting trip takes you away from civilisation to enjoy 1h45mins of 20+ rapids, Maori myths and legends and a safe introduction to white water rafting. The tour also includes a stop-in at the National Trout Centre to check out some local wildlife.

Location: Turangi, a 45-minute drive south of Taupo. Taupo transfers are available

10 Best Family Activities in Taupo© NZPocketGuide.com

3. Hit the Mountain Biking Trails

Mountain biking is kind of a big deal around New Zealand’s largest lake where the porous volcanic soils mean that mountain biking is excellent here all year round. What’s more, there are plenty of options for families. An excellent place to start is at the Craters Mountain Bike Park, a purpose-built bike park with a range of children’s entry-level trails. An easy-going alternative is the Great Lake Walkway with a sealed pathway so even tots with training wheels can have a blast. The Huka Trails linking Huka Falls, Aratiatia Dam and the Craters Mountain Bike Park are also a good way to link a few top sights with mountain biking.

Location: Check out the location of these bike trails and more in 10 Awesome Bike Around Lake Taupo.

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4. Explore the Sculpture Garden of Lava Glass

If you’re looking for something easy-going yet still stimulating for the kids, then check out Taupo’s glassblowing gallery and cafe, Lava Glass. The glass sculpture garden is magical to explore with more than 600 glass sculptures to see! Enjoy a coffee or lunch in the cafe, also featuring kid-friendly options on the menu.

Location: 165 State Highway 5, Wairakei, 10 minutes drive from Taupo town centre

Neerav Bhatt on Flickr© Neerav Bhatt on Flickr

5. Watch the Bees and Taste Honey at the Huka Honey Hive

An exciting free thing to do in Taupo, the Huka Honey Hive is where families can taste some of New Zealand’s famous honey and learn more about the importance of the world’s honey bees. There are some fascinating interactive displays seeing the little buzzies in action, as well as another opportunity in Taupo to indulge in treats at the Cafe Hive@65.

Location: 65 Karetoto Road, Wairakei, 10 minutes drive from Taupo town centre

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6. Watch the Dam Release at the Aratiatia Rapids

See epic hydropower in action at the Aratiatia Rapids. When the dam is released, thousands of litres of water surges through the canyon in a unique display of man versus nature. The dam is released a few times a day: 10am, 12pm and 2pm in winter and additionally 4pm in summer. There are a number of short walks in the area to enjoy the spectacle from a number of viewpoints.

Location: Aratiatia Road, 15 minutes drive from Taupo town centre

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7. Play in a Free Thermal Pool at Spa Park

Arguably the most iconic location in Taupo, Spa Park has recently been refurbished to be extremely family-friendly. Located on the banks of the mighty Waikato River, this geothermal spring offers warm thermal waters soothing enough to bathe in any weather. The banks are outfitted with wooden pontoons so the kids can access the water easily and there are even toilets and changing rooms only a few metres away. Oh, and there is a cafe too, should you need a refuel.

Location: Spa Road

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8. Experience Lake Taupo

Being only on the shore of New Zealand’s largest lake might not be enough for some family members. Luckily, the lake offers an incredibly huge variety of options when it comes to getting on the water! From historic cruises to the fun kayak trips, without forgetting parasailing and real sailing, you will have more choices than you can shake a stick at. So, run a poll in the car on what the family wants to do, making for a fun road trip debate! Check out some of the options in detail in the 10 Must-Dos in Taupo.

Location: Taupo lakefront

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9. Jump on a Raft and Fish Tour

All year-round, you have the opportunity to experience one of Taupo’s most famous activities in a family-friendly way: trout fishing with rafting! Yes, see why they call Taupo the “Trout Fishing Capital” when you hop onto a raft with Rafting New Zealand for a fly-fishing excursion on the Tongariro River. You’ll get a fishing guide for just you and your family, where everyone will get the opportunity to learn some tricks for reeling in beautiful rainbow and brown trout. Even for family members who don’t want to fish, playing in the sand to swimming in the river are more ways to enjoy your time on this fun trip in the great New Zealand outdoors!

Location: Turangi, a 45-minute drive south of Taupo. Taupo transfers are available

10 Best Family Activities in Taupo© NZPocketGuide.com

10. Visit Turangi

Located at the south of Lake Taupo, the town of Turangi is well worth a short visit. The drive alone takes you right on the edge of cliffs boarding Lake Taupo, offering unparalleled views of the lake. Once in Turangi, if the weather is great you can take your tribe to an easy 1h30min walk around Lake Rotopunamu featuring a stunning example of volcanic New Zealand bush with vibrant birdlife and even a few small beaches. If the weather turns grey, hide in the National Trout Centre to see heaps of fish and learn more about the local wildlife. Alternatively, the Volcanic Activity Centre is a great place to learn about the roaring underground beneath the region. Learn more about what to do in the area in 10 Amazing Things to Do in Turangi.

Location: Turangi, a 45-minute drive south of Taupo

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The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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